We all know SAS offers a rich variety of resources that help users to continuously build their skills. However one of the biggest questions plaguing SAS users is ‘where do I begin’ or ‘what’s next’. Considering the vast array of options to choose from, SAS developed several helpful tools to aid in determining users’ skill sets.
One of the many valuable tools SAS Training provides is the Pre-course assessments, currently available for all SAS users, to help determine their readiness for a given course. Each assessment is completely confidential, anonymous and contains 10 to 20 multiple choice questions that are designed to help define the most appropriate training based on prior knowledge and experience. Once an assessment is completed, a score, including the number and percentage of questions answered correctly, is reported, and a course recommendation is made. A score of 70 percent or higher suggests that the student has the skills and knowledge necessary to take the course. A score below 70 percent suggests that a different course may be needed to provide the prerequisite skills and knowledge that are lacking, and a course recommendation is made. “Prospective students see the score and the recommendations from SAS, but the choice about which particular class they will take is theirs,” said Linda Mitterling, Senior Director, Education.
SAS instructors are also reaping the benefits of the new assessment tools. Students without the correct prerequisite knowledge can fall quickly behind in a class and instructors may find themselves challenged to keep up the appropriate pace. In a recent class in Irvine, the self-assessment quizzes proved extremely beneficial to SAS instructor Jim Simon. After administering the test to students before an advanced class, Jim found that they did not have the required prerequisites. Jim says “I don't think I could have convinced these students to transfer, and that would have been a disaster for the students. Now, both students are enthused about the [course] material and delighted with their choice to transfer courses. The quizzes made a huge difference in this and other situations I have encountered”.
The SAS Education Division plans to develop more precourse assessments across other training curricula in 2012.